Denny Ray Leach
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A Life Well Lived…Semper Fi
SHREVEPORT, LA - After living a long, loving Christian life as an example to his family and friends, Denny Ray Leach went to his Heavenly Home early Monday morning, February 3rd, 2014 at age 87 in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Ray was born April 16, 1926 in Leesville, Louisiana to George Cary Leach and Jo Belle Maddox Leach. He had two sisters, Hilda Leach Hart and Marie Leach Chelette, and four brothers, George Clyde Leach, Robert E. Leach, William Jack Leach, and Charles J. (Bitsy) Leach, all deceased. He married Billie Lou McClendon Leach in July of 1948, and they enjoyed 66 years of marriage together.
He attended Fair Park High School. As so many other young patriots, he joined the U. S. Marine Corp before the age of 18. Ray served honorably in World War II where his 4th Marine Division was in the first group to land on Iwo Jima and begin the battle. He witnessed the US flag raised by the Marines as the battle was being won. He also served in northern China and in the Korean War, and at Barksdale Air Force Base during the Cold War. There he was one of two people trained to oversee the Tactical Communications for the Strategic Air Command. Specifically, he was charged with keeping the US President's red phone ready at all times. Ray then worked for some time for the Kansas City Southern Railroad Company before taking a job at South Central Bell and AT&T, where he worked for thirty-eight years.
After retirement, Ray's greatest joy was traveling to Colorado with his family. Regardless of the season or the weather, Ray was always ready for a trip to the mountains and would take anybody with him who wanted to go. He hiked up steep mountains with his grandchildren on his shoulders if they became tired, and again, hiked along their sides as they were grown men and women. He was kind, loving and generous to a fault. Before his eyesight began to fail, he was always ready to help a widow or friend with repairs, or plant a garden or visit the sick. His smoked meat was always required during family holidays. He put his three children through college, the first generation to attend. They became successful doctors, teachers and musicians.
Ray served as a deacon at Lakeshore Baptist and Ford Park Baptist Churches for many years. Also in a spirit of giving, Ray was a Shriner and helped raise funds for Shriner's Children's Hospital in Shreveport. With a true servant's heart, Ray walked with Jesus day by day, spending much of his time praying for others. He was often called "The Popcorn Man", as his weekly, and much-loved hobby, was popping popcorn for each church family.
Ray is survived by his wife Billie, his children, Christy Bickham and her husband Greg, Dr. Charles Leach and his wife Christie, Gary Leach and his wife Leanna, his grandchildren Andy Bickham, Ben Bickham, Adam Leach, Oliver Leach, Katie Bickham, Kirsten Leach, and Kelsey Leach, his great grandchildren, Mary Jane Bickham, Drew Bickham, and Annie Bickham, his cousin, Frank Leach, a host of nephews and nieces, and his beloved Schnauzer Gretchen.
Being the unselfish person that he was, Ray chose to donate his body to medical science. In lieu of flowers, the family asks donations be made to Carry The Load, Young Marines of Bossier City, or to the Organ Fund at Ford Park Baptist Church. The family will hold a memorial service for family and friends, to be announced at a later date.
Published in Shreveport Times on Feb. 9, 2014